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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Marshall: Black Queer Studies


In 1996, Cathy Cohen penned a groundbreaking challenge to mainstream queer studies and theory. Cohen argued that the field’s relentless determination to position itself against heteronormativity had created an unproductive narrowness or “single-issue oppression,” one that was blind to racial and class biases. The result, Cohen insisted, was that queer activism had undercut its potential to achieve a “truly radical or transformative politics” (438). What Cohen championed, instead, was a more nuanced form of queer studies and politics, an intersectional approach that consciously engaged with differences in race, class, gender, ability status, and nation (among other considerations). Cohen’s work was (and continues to be) transformational. Her work was among the first in one of the most rapidly growing fields of literary and cultural theory: queer of color critique. On this page, you'll find some of her work as well as pieces by other scholars who build on her important ideas.